Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Buying stuff is not the standard prescription for companies under pressure from activist investors. Procter & Gamble’s 3.4 billion euro splurge on Merck KGaA’s consumer unit, the maker of Seven Seas vitamin pills, will need a booster shot to earn the support of newly appointed board member Nelson Peltz.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Jeremy Corbyn is playing hardball with a soft Brexit. The Labour Party leader says Britain should stay in a customs union when it leaves the European Union. Though his vision is fuzzy, it may appeal to voters and galvanise a parliamentary challenge to embattled Prime Minister Theresa May. UK political instability looks set to step up a gear.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Should Jeremy Corbyn win Britain’s next election, his Labour Party has said it will end private sector ownership of natural monopolies like water companies. The received wisdom is that returning utilities to the public sector will be exorbitantly expensive. But that depends how it’s done.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The UK government’s latest leak will nudge the country towards a softer Brexit. State papers reportedly show the country will lose in every scenario after it leaves the European Union. Sadly for anti-Brexiteers, the upshot looks like a less abrupt schism than a wholesale U-turn.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Europe’s market big bang offers clear pain for a fuzzy gain. The overhaul of financial rules bundled in the European Union’s MiFID II directive is designed to make finance fairer and safer. But that laudable aim comes at a heavy cost, with an unrealistic deadline, and may open up new regulatory loopholes.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Catalonia’s local elections on Thursday delivered no Christmas joy. Parties seeking to break with Spain won a majority of seats in the Catalan parliament. Their support didn’t strengthen, but it didn’t really weaken either. That suggests a fraught new year too.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The African National Congress is getting change at the top. But South Africa’s turnaround will come only slowly. The ANC, dominant since the first post-apartheid elections in 1994, chose Cyril Ramaphosa to lead the party. That hints at an end to the rampant corruption and economic decline under President Jacob Zuma. Yet the victory was narrow, and reform could be endangered by infighting and much-needed fiscal rigour.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Thales is riding to the rescue of French jobs at Gemalto. The defence firm has trumped Atos’ tilt at the world’s biggest maker of chips for mobile phone SIM cards. The $4.8 billion agreed deal brings modest returns and leaves Thales exposed to a struggling payments business. The buyer’s biggest shareholder, France’s government, may still be happy.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Steinhoff controversy could be a chance for the European Central Bank to rethink its bond-buying programme. The institution is facing a possible loss after acquiring the South African retailer’s debt as part of its so-called quantitative easing. The ECB could reduce the chances of a repeat.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Britain is playing a weak hand badly in the Brexit poker game. The country has reportedly bowed to European Union demands that it pay up to 100 billion euros when it leaves the bloc. The outcome of months of haggling shows the UK has a lot less leverage than it pretends.